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167th Airlift Wing holds change of command ceremony

West Virginia National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, ceremoniously hands the 167th Airlift Wing guidon to Col. David Cochran as he assumes command of the wing from Col. Shaun Perkowski, left, during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

West Virginia National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, ceremoniously hands the 167th Airlift Wing guidon to Col. David Cochran as he assumes command of the wing from Col. Shaun Perkowski, left, during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

Col. David Cochran, accepts the 167th Airlift Wing guidon from West Virginia National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter,  as he assumes command of the wing from Col. Shaun Perkowski, left, during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

Col. David Cochran, accepts the 167th Airlift Wing guidon from West Virginia National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, as he assumes command of the wing from Col. Shaun Perkowski, left, during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

Col. Shaun Perkowski, outgoing commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, renders a salute during a change of command ceremony Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. Col. David Cochran assumed command from Perkowski during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

Col. Shaun Perkowski, outgoing commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, renders a salute during a change of command ceremony Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. Col. David Cochran assumed command from Perkowski during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

Col. Rodney Neely, 167th Airlift Wing vice commander, leads the wing in a final salute to Col. Shaun Perkowski, during a change of command ceremony Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. Col. David Cochran assumed command from Perkowski during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

Col. Rodney Neely, 167th Airlift Wing vice commander, leads the wing in a final salute to Col. Shaun Perkowski, during a change of command ceremony Aug. 5, at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base. Col. David Cochran assumed command from Perkowski during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, speaks during a change of command ceremony at the 167th Airlift Wing, Aug. 5. Col. David Cochran assumed command of the wing from Col. Shaun Perkowski. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, speaks during a change of command ceremony at the 167th Airlift Wing, Aug. 5. Col. David Cochran assumed command of the wing from Col. Shaun Perkowski. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --

The 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard, held a change of command ceremony, Aug. 5 at the Martinsburg, W.Va., air base.

Col. David “DC” Cochran assumed command of the 167th AW from Col. Shaun Perkowski during the ceremony.

West Virginia Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the ceremony’s presiding official, said to Perkowski, “You’ve taken a personal interest in everyone in the organization to drive it forward. You’ve left this organization a better place than when you came in. I greatly appreciate that and the work you’ve done as a wing.”

Hoyer then addressed Cochran.

“DC wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have the same confidence in his ability,” Hoyer said. “There are a lot of challenges ahead, and I know, DC, you know what to do.”

Cochran is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and a command pilot with over 6,500 hours. He has leadership and combat experience in several major contingency operations and has held numerous leadership positions within the wing, to include serving as deputy commander of both the 167th Operations Group and the 167th Maintenance Group. Most recently, he served as the wing’s vice commander.

“It is an honor to be entrusted with command of the 167th Airlift Wing.  I've always been proud to serve with the men and women of the 167th, and it is my privilege to build on the legacy of those who came before us,” Cochran said. “Col. Perkowski’s leadership has transformed the wing, and he has positioned the 167th for future success.  I hope to build on that foundation.”

Perkowski took command of the 167th AW in October 2013 and oversaw the unit’s aircraft conversion from the C-5 Galaxy to the C-17 Globemaster.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the 167th, its members and the support of the families and the Martinsburg community,” Perkowski said. “It has been an honor to lead this great wing.”

Perkowski will continue to work as a commercial airline pilot. He will be retiring from military service next year so he can devote more time to his family, he said.

Col. Rodney Neely will be stepping into the role of 167th AW vice wing commander, the position being vacated by Cochran. Neely has served as the 167th Mission Support Group commander since January 2013.

The 167th AW, comprised of more than 1,000 Airman, state technicians and contractors, operates a fleet of eight C-17 Globemaster aircraft, delivering people, equipment and supplies to locations around the world in support of the defense of this nation.